New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said he had "nothing to do" with team videographers filming the field during a Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals game Sunday in Cleveland. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 10 (UPI) -- The New England Patriots have admitted they violated NFL rules after "inappropriately" filming the field when the Cincinnati Bengals played the Cleveland Browns Sunday in Cleveland.
New England released a statement on the matter Monday, after Bengals coach Zac Taylor told reporters the league was investigating the issue. The reigning Super Bowl champions said they have had a content team producing behind-the scenes video features of various departments within the organization for the past year as part of the "Do Your Job" series.
The Patriots said they sent a three-person video crew to the Dec. 8 game to capture footage for a feature on the team's scouting department. New England said the crew was tasked with capturing a Patriots pro personnel scout while he was working.
Sources told NFL Network that a Bengals scout noticed the recording in the press box and alerted a Bengals executive, who informed NFL security. Security spoke with the Patriots staffer and obtained the video. Sources told NFL Network the footage included video of Bengals coaches making signals.
The team said they were granted access for the film crew by the Browns, but did not inform the Bengals or the NFL. The Patriots said their "failure to inform the Bengals and the league was an unintended oversight." They also said the crew "inappropriately filmed the field from the press box" without "specific knowledge of league rules."
"The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road," the Patriots said. "There was no intention of using the footage for any other purpose.
"We understand and acknowledge that our video crew, which included independent contractors who shot the video, unknowingly violated a league policy by filming the field and sideline from the press box. When questioned, the crew immediately turned over all footage to the league and cooperated fully."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick also commented on the investigation during a radio appearance Monday on WEEI.
"This is something that we 100 percent have zero involvement with," Belichick said. "This is something you'd have to talk to the production people about and what they were doing, or whatever it was."
Belichick was fined $500,000 and the Patriots were fined $250,000, in addition to losing a first round NFL Draft pick, when the NFL found the team violated league rules by filming New York Jets coaches on the sideline during a game in 2007.
"I'm aware there was an incident, but I know the league is investigating it," Taylor said Monday. "I've got no comment."
The Patriots face the Bengals at 1 p.m. EST Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. New England has lost back-to-back games entering the Week 15 matchup.